An elegant French games token box in rare kingwood. Kingwood also known as Prince’s wood, was the most highly prized and expensive timber of the 18th and 19th century. Shipped in from South America by early merchants, it was only used for the finest pieces of furniture, musical instruments and occasionally clocks. Slightly domed shape with a very interesting pattern of diamond shaped grain diminishing in size towards the center. Brass edging around the very top. The interior in coromandel wood with five removable containers each lined with a fine filet of bone striping. Kingwood along all inside edges. Original Jetons.1 This box could as well function as a jewelry box. Working lock and key.
French circa 1860-1880.
height: 2 in. 5 cm., width: 11.5 in. 29 cm., depth: 9 in. 23 cm.
Further readings and sources:
- Jetons or jettons are tokens or coin-like medals produced across Europe from the 13th through the 18th centuries. They were produced as counters for use in calculation on a counting board, a lined board similar to an abacus. They also found use as a money substitute in games, similar to modern casino chips or poker chips.
Thousands of different jetons exist, mostly of religious and educational designs, as well as portraits, the last of which most resemble coinage, somewhat similar to modern, non-circulation commemorative coins. The spelling “jeton” is from the French; it is sometimes spelled “jetton” in English.
Apart from their monetary use in casinos, jetons are used in card games, particularly in France but also in Denmark. They are traditionally made of wood of different shapes and sizes to represent different values such as 1, 5, 10, 50 or 100 points. For example, in traditional French games, jetons are round and usually worth 1 unit; fiches are long and rectangular in shape and may be worth 10 to 20 jetons; contrats are the short rectangular counters and may be worth, say, 100 units.
The jetons are also stained or coloured so that each player can have his or her own colour. This facilitates scoring because players do not need to start with exactly the same number of counters. Nowadays plastic jetons are a cheap alternative. Games that typically use jetons include Nain Jaune, Belote, Piquet, Ombre, Mistigri, Danish Tarok and Vira. A dedicated box called virapulla is used to contain Vira jetons. wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeton ↩